Better Alone, but Baby, You Won't Be
Braving it alone and meeting someone golden instead.
I always liked seashells. I wanted to collect them and place them in jars with sand and pretty stones. Whenever I saw a white feather, I would think of angels. When a bee flew by, I thought of it as a sign from the universe that I'm on the right creative path—most days.
“Those seashells you always bring in the house stink,” Milo told me one sunny afternoon In March. Relaxed and blissful from the sun and a morning collecting my treasures down on the beach, this took me off guard. I came inside to see him on the couch watching Netflix. I shrugged and went to put the shells I had collected just outside the front
“Do you want to go for a walk with me? When was the last time you were outside?” I did not want to sound judgemental and regretted asking.
“No, not now” he got up from the couch and went to his bedroom. It was only the two of us living together; I had to decide, it was time to boot him out. Better to live alone than with someone who couldn’t appreciate my company. Or anything pretty.
I took a seat on the other couch. My head started pounding. I decided it was time. I would have to come up with a plan to get this person out of my life. I stopped trying to talk to him and instead just went about my business. Going for walks and writing. Milo seemed to think my motivation to live the way I did was a lucky gift. Maybe that is why he felt like it was okay to act as ungratefully as he did.
“You don’t have to stay here with me,” I said to him the following day, “if you want to leave, leave.”
“I’ll leave; I’ll take a rental car.” was all he said. I did my best not to come up with my own conclusions for his disappointment. Missing his family and hometown, not liking me, or liking me too much. Before moving out to the island together. We had lived platonically as roommates, without hardly any issues.
Who would have thought moving to a bigger house on the beach would cause him to grow so cold towards me.
We drove in primarily awkward silence the few hours to the town where he would get in his rental car and make the rest of his journey home. We were at the end of our roller coaster ride together, and we both felt nauseous compared to the drive 1 month ago where we sang the whole way to what was to be our new home.
We said our fake goodbyes knowing, we most likely would never see each other again. And I was left to myself.
The next few months proved challenging but some of the most beautiful months of my life. The other islanders were an entirely different breed of human than I had ever experienced. Everyone seemed so carefree and expressed themselves in the way they dressed and spoke. The island was my new sandbox, and I was free to make as many sandcastles as my heart desired. I spent my days watching the waves from the rocky shoreline, writing, painting and redefining myself.
I had enough money saved that I didn’t have to work for at least a few months, as long as I was only eating rice and beans. I felt great most of the time until the loneliness set in. Milo had been my best friend, my brother. He never spoke to me again. I never really knew what happened.
One day, I was sitting on the shore; it was a wonderfully sunny day, the trees were singing with joy, and the air smelled like summer. I saw a kayaker coming in to land on the sand. I thought this was both strange and daring. Typically, the waves would make this endeavour impossible. But today, the ocean was so still. He arrived effortlessly. I watched him as he carried his kayak up the beach. I decided to go talk to him.
As I approached, I was amazed by his height. He must have been at least 6’8.
“I’ve never seen someone paddle into Chesters Beach before,” I told him as I approached.
“Me neither!” he replied. “but today is the perfect day.”
“It sure is; where did you paddle from?” I inquired.
“I came from Wicca island; I’m living there now, off-grid.”
“Wow! That’s beautiful; it must be a lot of work.”
“Yeah, it gets cold and solar panels don’t do so well in the rainforest.”
“I can imagine…My name is Baby, by the way.” This wasn't my real name, but it was what I liked to be called.
“Baby... I’m Malthe” He didn’t comment on my name as I had expected, as most people do. “I’m Danish,” He said, explaining his own strange name. “I just moved here a couple of months ago".
“So did I,” I replied.
“Would you like to walk the beach with me? That’s all I really came here to do”.
I must have smiled bigger than my face because he started to laugh.
“Let’s go. Is your kayak safe here?” I confirmed.
“I think so.” He said, flipping it over and tucking his paddle neatly inside.
We walked the whole 8km of beach together, and just like that, I had a new friend. He told me all about life on Wicca, chopping wood, carrying water, baking bread and washing clothes by hand. He talked about fishing from his kayak and setting crab traps, and trying to live off the land as much as possible. I told him about my writing, painting, and lonely lifestyle. He didn’t have a phone or wifi, so we planned to meet again—the next day. I would meet him on the next beach over, assuming that we wouldn’t be as lucky with the ocean conditions.
When we hugged goodbye, I could feel his ribs through his layers of clothing. He hadn't exaggerated the amount of physical labour he had to do to sustain himself. I watched him paddle off and couldn’t wait for 11 am the following day.